Big cats inspire awe because of their beauty and power. But predation is what defines them: their size, body structure, patterns, colours, claws and captivating eyes – actually all the things we love about them – are the way they are because big cats have to be efficient hunters. Of course seeing them kill another creature instills a lot of mixed feelings – on one hand it is sad to see another beautiful creature die, but on the other hand this is necessary for the predator and prey population survival. I think it is important that we don’t lose sight that big cats, including the sleek and elegant cheetahs, are lethal predators. It is also important not to lose sight that prey species live a life of constant danger and the moment of death is not a pleasant affair. I see no point to gloss over or censor this in my wildlife photography. Most of us live in a society far removed from the realities of what it takes to get food onto our table. We forget about where those nicely pre packed slabs or slices of meat originally come from. Judging from some angry emails and comments I got in the past, I think some people forget what the natural course of things actually is and think photos of such moments are horrifying rare events that not only should not be taken and shared, but the photographer is cruel for not intervening!
I capture and share moments that strike me, whether visually or emotionally. Even when the moment is disturbing, like this is meant to be. We need to be nudged to remember about the circle of life. This photo is raw nature, depicting the moment the Impala gave up its fight for life. But it’s also the moment when the three cheetahs were assured of another meal to live another day. A bittersweet moment I will never forget.
Techs: Canon 7D | Canon EF 300 2.8 IS II | f 3.2 | 1/800s | ISO 200